UFC books headliner between Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov

Ciryl Gane UFC

The UFC has finalized a massive matchup in the heavyweight division. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report today that the promotion has finalized a matchup between the undefeated Ciryl Gane (8-0) and Alexander Volkov (33-8).

The fight will headline a UFC Fight Night on June 26th. For Ciryl Gane, this matchup on June 26th will be his next step up in competition. The French heavyweight has been slowly climbing the ladder since his UFC debut in 2019.

Last December, Gane knocked out former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos. After that knockout win, the UFC gave him a quick turnaround to headline a card in February against Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

The matchup was being built up as a matchup between two knockout artist in the heavyweight division. However, the fight failed to live up to expectations and neither man landed any massive shots during the fight.

That said, the fight was still a domination from Ciryl Gane who won all five rounds on all three scorecards. Gane is now 5-0 in the UFC and could be one win away from a title shot.

UFC title eliminator?

Alexander Volkov looked better than ever in his last outing. Just a couple of weeks before Gane defeated Rozenstruik, Volkov took on Alistair Overeem in the main event of a fight night.

Unlike the Gane fight, this one didn’t go the distance. Volkov completely picked apart Overeem on his way to picking up his second straight UFC win. A few years ago, Volkov was only one win away from a title shot.

Well, in reality, he was seconds away from a title shot when he was fighting Derrick Lewis. However, The Black Beast landed a massive knockout shot in the final seconds to earn himself a shot at the UFC heavyweight title.

Now, Volkov appears to be in a similar position. He’s once again perhaps just a win away from earning himself a shot at the title. This should be a fantastic matchup on June 26th and a big one for the heavyweight division.

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division

MMA, Stipe Miocic

The last month has been incredibly busy for the UFC‘s heavyweight division. In the month of February alone, three fight nights were headlined by heavyweight clashes that shook up the heavyweight division.

However, outside of fighting, we also saw some big news come in last night regarding the heavyweights. The UFC released former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-9) and former title challenger, Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC).

Both men were ranked inside the top 12 at heavyweight so the news is shaking up the rankings a bit. The release of JDS wasn’t surprising, but Overeem had just headlined UFC Vegas 18 against Alexander Volkov (33-8).

Volkov looked better than ever and stopped Overeem in the second round. However, Overeem had won two in a row prior so the decision to release was rather interesting. Nevertheless, Overeem is no longer with the promotion.

After Volkov’s big win, we saw UFC Vegas 19 which was headlined by Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Curtis Blaydes (14-3, 1 NC). Both of these men were looking to stake their claim as a top contender and that’s exactly what Derrick Lewis did.

After Curtis Blaydes easily won the first round, Lewis put him to sleep in the second round. Lewis is now tied for the most knockouts in UFC history and he’s ranked second in the heavyweight division.

Last weekend at UFC Vegas 20, we saw the conclusion of the heavyweight main events. Ciryl Gane (8-0) took on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-2). It was the only fight that went the distance and it lacked for action, but Ciryl Gane dominated his way into the top five at heavyweight.

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division

After all of these fight nights, there is a big more clarity in the heavyweight division. At the end of this month at UFC 260, Stipe Miocic (20-3) will take on Francis Ngannou (15-3) for the heavyweight championship in a rematch.

After this fight, we already know what is next. Regardless of the outcome, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is getting the next crack at the heavyweight title. Jones vacated his light heavyweight championship to pursue the heavyweight title and he’s getting an immediate title shot.

I would say that whoever loses the title fight in March will likely face Derrick Lewis next. Lewis would be the number one contender if Jon Jones wasn’t moving up. Given where Stipe and Francis both stand, the UFC will likely let Lewis fight the winner after UFC 260.

With that, I believe that Volkov will likely be fighting Ciryl Gane next. Both are now ranked inside the top five and a win for either man would probably put them just one more win away from a title shot.

By the process of elimination, we could also see Curtis Blaydes and Rozenstruik fight next. Both are coming off of a loss, but both are still ranked inside the top six. The top of the heavyweight division is looking very exciting and I can’t wait to see how 2021 plays out for the big boys in the UFC.

What’s next for Ciryl Gane after his win at UFC Vegas 20?

Ciryl Gane UFC

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 20, the heavyweights took center stage and were in the main event. Undefeated prospect, Ciryl Gane (8-0), took on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-2). The matchup between these two looked to be a pivotal matchup for the UFC’s heavyweight division.

Both Gane and Rozenstruik were being built up as finishers heading into this contest. Rozenstruik had the one punch knockout power while Gane had a repertoire that included elite striking and great submissions for a heavyweight.

After the Derek Lewis knockout at UFC Vegas 19, there was high expectations for this matchup. Well, it didn’t turn out to be the firefight that some people were expecting. However, it was incredibly one-sided.

It was apparent early on what the strategy was for both men. Rozenstruik was looking for one big shot to end the night while Gane was staying light-footed and striking from the outside. While Gane’s performance wasn’t flashy, it was incredibly effective.

Rozenstruik struggled to get any offense off during the five rounds. Gane stayed on the outside and just popped Bigi Boy with jabs and kicks. In the end, UFC Vegas 20 was a disappointment if you wanted to see a finish. However, if you’re a fan of Ciryl Gane, you had to enjoy his dominance.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 20?

When the scorecards were read at UFC Vegas 20, all three judges scored the contest 50-45 for Ciryl Gane. The French heavyweight stayed unbeaten and he is bound to be in the top four of the rankings at heavyweight when they come out tomorrow.

Dana White wasn’t thrilled with the performance, but at the end of the day, a dominant win is a dominant win. Gane did what he had to do and it was a complete shutout. You can’t fault the man for that.

So what will the UFC do with Ciryl Gane after this victory? Well, I think the perfect opponent for Gane would be the winner of the UFC Vegas 18 headliner. Alexander Volkov (33-8) should be next for Gane.

When the rankings come out tomorrow, both of these men should be ranked inside the top five. Both carry winning streaks and both probably need another win or two before they earn themselves a UFC title shot. I believe this is the path the promotion should go, and I believe they ultimately will go this route.

After his big win at UFC Vegas 18, what’s next for Alexander Volkov?

Alexander Volkov, UFC

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 18, Alexander Volkov (33-8) went head-to-head with Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC). The winner of this matchup was going to be in a very good position inside the top five moving forward.

I was expecting this fight to be close, but in reality, it was anything but. As soon as the bell sounded at UFC Vegas 18, Alexander Volkov was in control. His strikes were extremely crisp and he never gave Overeem any time to get comfortable inside the octagon.

There were several times where Volkov pinned Overeem against the fence and peppered him with shots. In the second round, Volkov really started to do some serious damage. A huge 1-2 forced Overeem to turn away and that’s when Volkov really poured it on.

A few more devastating combinations followed and Overeem went crashing to the floor which caused the referee to stop it. Alexander Volkov didn’t just win at UFC Vegas 18, he made a huge statement.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 18?

Following the big win at UFC Vegas 18, there are a couple of options for Alexander Volkov. Both of the options I have in mind look at the two heavyweight main events that are coming up later this month.

Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes are scheduled to headline on 2/20 while Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane are headlining on 2/27. If I was the match maker for the UFC, I would give Volkov the winner of one of these matchups.

The only fight I would consider giving him the loser in would be the Lewis and Blaydes matchup. Volkov was seconds away from a UFC title shot a few years ago before Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC) knocked him out.

Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) grinded out a decision win against Volkov back in 2020. Blaydes and Lewis are the only two men to have defeated Volkov in the UFC. So if you were going to give him a loser of those matchups, that’s the fight to do it.

Personally, I love Volkov against the winner of the Gane/Rozenstruik matchup. In my ideal world, that is what I would do next. Exciting times and a bunch of fun matchups are ahead in the UFC’s heavyweight division.

What’s next for Alistair Overeem after UFC Vegas 18 loss?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 18, Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC) took on Alexander Volkov (33-8) in the main event of the evening. Overeem was looking to pickup his third straight win on his final run towards the UFC heavyweight title.

However, Saturday night proved to be a rude awakening for The Demolition Man. Pretty much from the opening bell, Overeem couldn’t get any space from Volkov. Volkov was in his face constantly throwing big shots and Overeem could never get his offense off.

There were a couple of times where Overeem landed some solid lefts, but those shots were few and far between. In the second round, Volkov really started to pour it on Alistair Overeem. Volkov hurt Overeem bad with stinging 1-2’s down the pipe.

Just over two minutes into the round, a combination sent Overeem to the ground and the referee called a stop to the action at UFC Vegas 18. A rough night at the office for the 40 year old Overeem.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 18?

Many have wondered if Overeem would retire after UFC Vegas 18. Overeem has made it clear that he wants the UFC heavyweight title and if he gets that, he would retire immediately. However, he’s also hinted at walking away if there’s no path to the title.

This loss to Volkov made his steep climb to a title shot even steeper. In theory, there is still a path for Overeem to get another title shot in the UFC, however, it’s not going to be easy. There are now four contenders in front of him who have knocked him out.

That said, Overeem posted on Twitter that he’s planning on getting back into the gym soon. Thus, it appears that Overeem isn’t done just yet. So, with that in mind, what should the UFC do with Overeem next?

I think the perfect opponent for Overeem would be the loser of the 2/27 main event between Ciryl Gane and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. If Rozenstruik were to lose, him and Overeem already have history.

Overeem was seconds away from a decision win over Rozenstruik before getting knocked out. Meanwhile if Gane were to lose, the UFC would get their top heavyweight prospect back in there with a big name like Overeem. Look for the loser of this matchup to be Overeem’s next fight.

Alexander Volkov destroys Alistair Overeem at UFC Vegas 18

Alexander Volkov, UFC

In the main event of UFC Vegas 18, we saw a heavyweight clash between Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) and Alexander Volkov (32-8). Both of these heavyweight contenders were looking to take another step towards the UFC heavyweight crown.

Alistair Overeem is getting ready to turn 41 years old. He’s had an incredible career, however, the UFC heavyweight title has always evaded him. He’s currently on the final run of his career and he’s hoping it ends with that UFC heavyweight title.

Standing in Overeem’s way tonight was Alexander Volkov. Volkov was perhaps seconds away from a UFC title shot a few years ago. However, a knockout loss to Derrick Lewis in the final seconds derailed those dreams. He was looking to get closer to a title shot tonight.

UFC Vegas 18 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 18 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Volkov immediately opened with a big leg kick and pushed Overeem against the fence. A few follow up hooks followed as Overeem covered up.

Overeem was able to spin away and get the fight back to distance. One minute in and Overeem was just trying to feel out Volkov. Another big leg kick lands for Volkov and Overeem gets pressed against the fence. Overeem then threw two massive lefts that backed up Volkov.

Volkov then landed a couple of stiff jabs as Overeem pushed forward. Halfway through the round and Volkov lands a good body kick. A good lead uppercut lands for Overeem. Overeem pushed forward and ended up on the ground. Wasn’t clear if he was hurt or if he slipped.

Volkov pounced but couldn’t get the finish. Overeem worked his way up to his feet, but Volkov was heavy on the pressure. Overeem tries with an overhand left that glances Volkov. Volkov was heavy on the pressure to close the round and landed well. 1-0 Volkov at UFC Vegas 18.

Round 2

Overeem was busted up to start the second in the UFC Vegas 18 main event. Volkov lands a clean 1-2 to start the striking in round two. Overeem was getting busted up even more by Alexander Volkov.

Overeem pushes forward and forces a clinch, but he couldn’t hold Volkov. Volkov was circling around the outside just popping Overeem. A few stiff shots cause Overeem to turn away and he’s hurt badly.

Volkov pushes forward looking for the finish. Overeem was able to get away and the fight continued. However, it didn’t last for long. Volkov lands a couple of additional shots that cause Overeem to completely crumble. Incredible performance at UFC Vegas 18 for Alexander Volkov.

Alexander Volkov def. Alistair Overeem by KO – Round 2

UFC Vegas 18 Preview: Alexander Volkov – Alistair Overeem

Alexander Volkov, UFC

In the main event of UFC Vegas 18, we will see a big heavyweight clash. Top six contenders go head-to-head as Alexander Volkov (32-8) takes on The Demolition Man, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC).

Overeem started his MMA career back in 1999. He’s fought all over the world and captured multiple world titles in his career. However, the UFC heavyweight title has always evaded Alistair Overeem. At 40 years old, Overeem is currently on his final run to the heavyweight title.

Overeem came over to the UFC back in 2011 as the Strikeforce heavyweight champion. He defeated Brock Lesnar and that set him up for a title fight. However, a positive drug test got him suspended and he lost that opportunity.

Overeem wouldn’t have his chance at the title until 2016 when he took on Stipe Miocic. The fight started well for Overeem who dropped Miocic, but ultimately he ended up getting knocked out in the first. He hasn’t been able to get back since, but he’s 4-1 in his last five and is riding momentum.

Alexander Volkov came over to the UFC back in 2017. He started out 3-0 and that included a win over former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum. Volkov was seconds away from a fourth straight win and a title shot, but was the victim of a last second knockout from Derrick Lewis.

Since that loss at UFC 229, Volkov has gone 2-1. He’s still one of the top contenders in the heavyweight division and if he’s able to beat Overeem tomorrow night, he’ll only be a win or two away from a UFC title shot.

UFC Vegas 18 Prediction

The main event tomorrow is going to be so fascinating to watch. While Overeem is a former world champion kick-boxer, I would actually give the distance striking advantage to Alexander Volkov in this matchup.

Volkov’s striking in his last fight at UFC 254 looked sensational. Meanwhile, Overeem’s striking in recent years has lost a step. Instead, Overeem has leaned a lot more on his grappling which really showed in his last win against Augusto Sakai.

If this fight is a striking match from range, I think Volkov is going to get the win. However, I’m expecting Overeem to use a lot of clinch work in this win. For Overeem to win, he’s got to mix it up throughout. Chain his striking together with takedown attempts and the clinch.

One big weapon Overeem can use at UFC Vegas 18 is his knees. Overeem has some of the best knees in the business from the clinch. I wouldn’t be shocked by either man winning, but I think the multi-dimensional attack from Overeem will get it done over five rounds.

Prediction: Alistair Overeem by Unanimous Decision 

Alistair Overeem wants to capture UFC gold then immediately retire

This weekend at UFC Vegas 18, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) will continue down his final run inside the octagon. The Demolition Man turns 41 in May and he knows that his time as a UFC heavyweight is coming to an end.

Overeem headlines this weekend’s upcoming card against Alexander Volkov (32-8). Both men currently rank inside the UFC’s top six at heavyweight and a win for either man puts them one step closer to a title shot.

Overeem had his first professional MMA fight back in 1999. His career has taken him all over the world and he’s competed in virtually every major MMA organization there’s ever been. He’s also won many world titles all across the globe.

Overeem was the heavyweight champion in Dream and Strikeforce. In addition to that, Overeem was the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion in kickboxing. One of only two fighters ever to have the distinction of a kickboxing and MMA world title simultaneously.

The one thing that has eluded Overeem is the UFC heavyweight title. Overeem came over to the UFC in 2011 as the Strikeforce heavyweight champion. He debuted by finishing Brock Lesnar in the first round. However, he later failed a drug test before his first UFC title shot and was suspended.

Upon his return, Overeem lost two straight. Overeem was able to climb the ladder and earned himself a title shot at UFC 203 against Stipe Miocic. The Demolition Man was finished in the first round after some early success.

One final UFC title run

Throughout his UFC career, Overeem has come close to the title. However, up to this point, he’s never been able to capture the title. This is the only thing missing from Overeem’s career and he’s made it clear that if he accomplishes his goal, he’s done.

In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Overeem said, “I would retire immediately (after winning the UFC title). There’s nothing to prove at that point.” He’s also alluded to the fact that if his championship window closes, he will walk away from the sport.

With that in mind, every time Alistair Overeem walks into the octagon from here on out, it could be for the final time. If Overeem wins at UFC Vegas 18, he’s likely only one more win away from a title shot.

However, if Overeem falters and Volkov wins, we might see the last of The Demolition Man. Overeem has had an incredible career, however, it would feel somewhat incomplete if he’s never able to get UFC gold. He’s got a steep mountain in front of him and it’ll be fascinating to see if he can reach the summit.

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division entering 2021

MMA, Stipe Miocic

2021 will usher in a new day in the heavyweight division. As we enter January 2021, it has been three years since UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic (20-3), fought someone not named Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC).

At UFC 220 back in January of 2018, Miocic defended his title against Francis Ngannou (15-3). Ngannou was being billed as the next big thing having destroyed every contender the UFC had put in front of him.

However, Miocic showed off his greatness that night shutting out the French contender. However, Miocic would lose his title in the summer of 2018 when he was knocked out in the first round by Daniel Cormier.

The UFC then angled for Cormier to face Brock Lesnar in a superfight. The proposed matchup with Lesnar was supposed to be Cormier’s last UFC fight. The fight never materialized and Cormier went on to defend his title against Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC).

Cormier defeated Lewis and waited for the Lesnar fight. Again, it never came together so Cormier decided to give Stipe Miocic a rematch at UFC 241. After dominating the fight early, Cormier got knocked out by Miocic in the fourth round.

After that fight, Miocic needed to take some time off. A year later, Miocic and Cormier finished their trilogy at UFC 252 in Cormier’s last fight. Miocic won the fight by unanimous decision cementing himself as the heavyweight GOAT.

UFC’s heavyweight division in 2021

With the Miocic – Cormier trilogy behind us, it’s time for the UFC’s heavyweight division to move on in 2021. However, Miocic will face a familiar foe in his first title defense of the year. He will once again take on Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou’s losses to Miocic then Derrick Lewis might have been the best thing for him. He’s rededicated himself to the sport and he’s looked untouchable since. After losing a decision to Lewis, Ngannou is 4-0 with four first round knockouts.

Not only that, but none of those opponents have gone more than 71 seconds. The UFC’s predator looks better than ever and he’s expected to face Miocic in March for the heavyweight title.

Another exciting aspect of the heavyweight division in 2021 is the arrival of Jon Jones (26-1,1 NC). Jones is widely considered to be the greatest fighter of all-time and he’s finally decided to move up to heavyweight.

After reigning over light heavyweight for nearly a decade, Jones is preparing for a shot at the heavyweight title. He’s expected to face the winner of Miocic – Ngannou over the summer or early next fall.

Other Contenders

Behind Jones there are a number of compelling contenders. Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) are expected to faceoff in 2021. They were supposed to fight in November, however, Blaydes tested positive for COVID and the fight was scrapped.

Both contenders have multiple fight winning streaks. A win for either man would put them in great position. The guy to really watch out for is Ciryl Gane (7-0). Gane just knocked out JDS at UFC 256 and is poised to be a top contender.

Of course, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) and Alexander Volkov (32-8) are two others to watch out for. They headline a Fight Night in February. Of course there’s still Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) out there who’s ranked third at heavyweight at the moment.

Miocic is finally done with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones is entering the heavyweight picture. Francis Ngannou looks better than ever and there’s a ton of hungry and dangerous contenders behind him. Should be a fun year at heavyweight in 2021.

State of the heavyweight division ahead of UFC Vegas 15

MMA, Stipe Miocic

This weekend at UFC Vegas 15, Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) and Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC) will go head to head in a battle of top four contenders. The winner of this weekend’s fight will be squarely in the title picture.

However, the heavyweight division seems to be paused at the moment. Francis Ngannou (15-3) is the clear number one contender in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Yet, his title fight has not been booked.

Ngannou has only fought once since the middle of 2019. He has been patiently waiting as the UFC‘s heavyweight title has been tied up for the last two years with the trilogy of Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Daniel Cormier.

Back at UFC 252, Miocic was able to finish off the trilogy with a unanimous decision win over Cormier. However, Miocic needed a little time off after the fight was over which has extended the layoff for Ngannou.

Ngannou has come out this week voicing his frustrations about his prime being wasted. The current plan is for the UFC to book the heavyweight title fight for sometime either in March or April. However, that is not confirmed.

UFC’s GOAT moving up

There’s another interesting wrinkle that’s been thrown into the UFC‘s heavyweight division and that’s Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world recently vacated his light heavyweight title to move up to heavyweight. 

Jones has his eyes on the UFC heavyweight title, and it’s been said that he will get a title shot in his first shot at heavyweight. However, Jones will not jump Ngannou which means we likely won’t see Jones competing for the title until the summer.

That being said, what does this weekend’s fight really mean? Without Jones, the UFC Vegas 15 winner would likely get the next shot after Ngannou. However, since Jones is moving up, the winner this weekend will likely be third in line.

Assuming either guy wouldn’t want to wait nearly a year for their title shot, the winner will likely have to take another fight. So what are the options for the winner? Well, there are a couple of options.

One option would be for the winner to take on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1). Rozenstruik doesn’t have a fight booked and he’s coming off of a knockout win over Junior Dos Santos. There’s not a clear next opponent for him and he hasn’t fought either man in this weekend’s main event.

Another option would be for the winner to take on the winner of the Alistair Overeem – Alexander Volkov fight in February. Some rematches can materialize with that possibility.

I think the UFC will likely book the winner this weekend against Rozenstruik. We know that the winner this weekend isn’t getting a title shot and they’re not fighting Jones. Keep the winner active, and let them fight Rozenstruik.